GEMI Summer Meeting

GEMI summer meeting addresses water risks and solutions

Members discuss global water trends, and share tools and strategies for assessing water risk for operations, supply chain and product use

The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI), the global leader in developing insights, networking and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business, convened its membership for GEMI’s summer meeting focused on making the business case for water stewardship. GEMI member Smithfield Foods hosted the meeting, themed “Global Water Trends: Addressing Water Risks and Opportunities,” at its Patrick Cudahy facility in Milwaukee, Wis.

“For GEMI’s summer meeting, we harnessed the regional wealth of water expertise in the Milwaukee area, which has a high concentration of water technology companies and a world-class accelerator program for entrepreneurs and water research,” said Bill Gill, assistant vice president, Environmental Affairs, Smithfield Foods, and chair, GEMI. “These expert speakers helped foster useful discussion for our members who are interested in practices used for setting and achieving corporate goals for water usage and conservation in different industries.”

The meeting included several water management experts, including guest speakers from Alliance for Water Stewardship North America, Antea Group, Badger Meter, Ceres, Ecolab, Deloitte, Environmental Defense Fund, GE Water & Process Technologies, U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, Veolia North America and The Water Council. Together with fellow GEMI member speakers, the meeting facilitated conversation about water efficiency, building partnerships for better water stewardship, best practices for applying water sustainability tools for various industries as well as case studies showing successful water programs and collaboration. The meeting concluded with a focus on how GEMI can help create collaborative solutions for water stewardship.

“One of the big challenges many companies face, is the true value of water is disconnected from the initial cost for water from utilities. That disconnect impacts how we assess and treat the  resource from a business standpoint,” said Dan Daggett, executive director, Sustainability, Sealed Air. “The GEMI summer meeting was a great opportunity to review water risk and monetization tools, hear from water technology experts and better understand how we, as the corporate sustainability leaders, can adjust for this disparity and build effective water programs that recognize the true value of water.”

Resulting from the meeting, GEMI’s Quick Guide Work Group is exploring the creation of an education tool that tackles priority water topics for corporate sustainability experts, such as: how to develop a corporate water strategy, how to make the business case for water, how to quantify water risks in business terms and how to determine which water tool is most appropriate for a specific business need or environment.

The GEMI fall meeting will focus on Life Cycle Thinking and Product Design Strategies and will be hosted by P&G in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Oct. 28-29, 2015. Non-member companies considering membership can request attendance at one meeting on a complimentary basis. For more information about GEMI, membership benefits and upcoming meetings, visit or email GEMI’s Executive Director, Steve Hellem:

About GEMI

GEMI is the global leader in developing insights, networking, and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business. For 25 years, GEMI has captured the vision and experience of global corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability leaders from diverse business sectors through the development of a wide range of publicly-available, solutions-based tools designed to help companies improve the environment, their operations and add business value.

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